Not just a casual spring ‘read’

Before We Were Yours

Spring greetings to everyone! The redbuds have been showing off, the dogwoods and azaleas are just beginning to announce their arrival. Millions of verdant leaves are beginning to unfurl. I had intended to post a photo of an azalea and life stirring on the waterways, however…

Last weekend, I received my Advanced Reader’s Edition of ‘Before We Were Yours’ by author Lisa Wingate and immediately dove into reading. What an impact it had upon me. This is not simply a casual read. Unfortunately, though the family of Rill is fictional, the orphanage in Tennessee and the atrocities which occurred there are not fiction, they are a sad part of American history.

I soberly encourage everyone to read the book, which will be available June 6. Expect your life to be changed, expect your heart to be rent.

The following is the review I posted on

“Lisa Wingate’s historical novel ‘Before We Were Yours’ is a book I read hour after hour, unable to put down. The story kept me captivated. I feared the worst, hoped for the best, agonized with Rill & the others, encouraging them to hang on through the difficulties. My tears flowed with the knowledge that the atrocities in the story were based on real occurrences in America’s not too distant past. When I closed the book after reading the last page, I could only sit, silently pondering the historical truths, struck with the impact.

This author is truly gifted at developing the numerous contrasting components of an intricate story and the complexities of multiple characters. She is also impressively adept at leading her characters through their painful experiences towards hope, recovery and redemption. Lisa Wingate’s writing gift, skills and talent appear to grow exponentially through each new story she creates. This was another phenomenal example.”


One happy grandmother!

Go over the river, through the woods, to Grandmother’s house and she’ll be quite happy!

“Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone.”
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”

          by Lydia Maria Child

Gratefulness & Thankfulness

Fall arrangement 4

Gratefulness and thankfulness fill Grandma Abigail’s heart! Her daughter and grandson will be traversing “over the river and through the woods” approximately 1,200 miles to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving this year. This will be one year that her heart won’t feel ripped apart and wounded when she hears that song, a song which she truly does love a lot but which is painful to listen to most years. Thankfully she and Pap Wayne get to see others of their children and grandchildren occasionally throughout the year and are always truly thankful & blessed that they too travel to see grandma & pap but holidays without them are difficult. Grandma Abigail tries to keep on a happy face but sometimes there’s pain lurking underneath.

Holidays were all about family being together when Grandma Abigail was growing up but times have changed. In her mind it should still be that way yet they encouraged their children to become independent and to discover & develop their life courses and their grown children have done so. This is the result. They are proud of their children’s achievements and the new roots which they have established as they accomplish their goals and grow their families.

Grandma Abigail and Pap Wayne say, “We count our blessings day by day and we are truly grateful and thankful for the extras!”

I wonder if Celia will be spending Thanksgiving with her daughter and granddaughter this year. Perhaps they will come down and visit The Olde Fishing Village. Only time will tell.




A good book to capture the last days of summer.

The Sea Keeper's Daughters Cover

I know that the season doesn’t officially change for another month but with Labor Day approaching and children returning to school, it ‘feels’ like the end of the summer.

Growing up, Labor Day weekend was the unofficial end to summer because the swimming pools closed, the activities scheduled by the Parks & Rec department at the community playground were finished and there would be no more family trips to the Chesapeake Bay until school let out the following year. Even as a kid I found that to be depressing.

For now however, the weather and temps continue to be fantastic so it seems to me that it’s a great time to slip down to the beach with your big umbrella, sunscreen, tinted glasses, a cold drink and the book The Sea Keeper’s Daughter’s. An excellent way to extend the fun.

Happy reading everyone!


Winter, Transition and Change

Discarded boat

Winter is a tough season around the water. Instead of bluish green, the river, the sound and the bay are a cold gray color. A lot of boats have been pulled ashore to be prepared for next season; a lot of them simply look forlorn. The sea grasses are drab looking, of course most of the trees are leafless and I haven’t seen much wildlife. This year there have even been very few flocks of geese flying over.

On a positive note, because of the bare tree branches, a few days ago I caught a peek of a pair of blue herons flying past our property on their way from the river to a hidden inlet here in the cove. Because blue herons are special to me, whenever I see one fly over, I feel as if God is sending a reminder of His love. Definitely a reminder that there is life even in the winter season.

Our lives are full of transition and change all of the time, even when we aren’t noticing, even when it feels like winter. I’ve read some beautiful analogies about the seasons of our lives, comparing them to the four seasons of the year. Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer expressed it well in their book series “Four Seasons”. There’s a valid purpose and benefit to each of the seasons in nature and in our individual lives.

As I, Grandma Abigail, look around the island and the Olde Fishing Village, I could focus on the lack of activity on the paths & streets and the empty rental houses. I could dwell on missing my favorite summer visitors and could lament the slower retail sales.  Instead, at the beginning of January, I began stating, “There are only 2 1/2 months until Spring!” Now, as I write, there are less than two months until Spring. Alleluia!

Pap Wayne and I have been making some changes too. For a few of those changes, God had given us a long period of preparation. We have to guiltily admit that some of the changes we may have pushed past the timeframe that God had given us. It’s not that we were unwilling, we just wanted to be absolutely certain that we were hearing God on all accounts. I’ve always been willing to submit to change and transition though the older I get, the more cautious I am. At this age, I ask for more confirmations, to make certain I’m following His will and not my own.

Pap Wayne and I know that we are in the winter of our lives, however, God still has a purpose for us and we’re willingly going along for the ride. He’s been transitioning and positioning us for His purposes which He will reveal when the time is right.

The hardest changes have been the physical ones as we age. After surgery and subsequent complications this past year, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk around the Olde Fishing Village and island again. I’m fairly certain I’ll never return to walking on the beaches or near the marshes. However, if I can get into my trusty golf cart, I can kick up dust on all of the sandy roads that weave around the island.

Soon the cattails will push new shoots up through the dead fragments left from last year. Daffodils will be smiling at us before we know it. We’ll shake off the winter doldrums and hope will spring up as we see new life bursting forth all around us.

The blue crabs will rise up out of their hibernation in the bottom of the river, the blue herons will happily meet the frogs as they greet the warmer weather, fresh seafood will again be in abundance. Suddenly Celia, Natalie and others I have mentored will return to the island for the fresh sea air, beaches and sun.

So, even though it doesn’t feel like it yet, winter will be over soon. Everything, us included, will complete this phase of transition & change and settle into a new norm. New people will visit the cove, meaning new relationships and new friendships. Some others may transition out of our lives as they follow the next steps in their life journies.

The sun will be closer & brighter and will provide more warmth. The water will look beautiful and inviting again. Wildlife will fill the waterways and a wide range of sea birds will catch our eye. Chatter of voices and sounds of water craft will echo from the waterfront and the laughter of children will fill the green lawns anew. Residents of the village will fill the island with all the normal activities. Joy will fill my heart afresh. Life was hidden there all along; some hibernating, some in transition and some experiencing change. The Winter season makes the Spring and Summer seasons all that more delightful. Praise God!






Reflect on the reason for the season

Poinsettia arrangement

Calm down, be at peace. It will all work out and come together. If you aren’t enjoying the blessing of being able to give to others and if it’s only stressing you out & causing angst, it’s not worth doing. Maybe your focus needs redirected.

Focus on the one who gave it all for you, Jesus. Thank God that you are able to do what you are able to do. If you are able to bless others with gifts, thank God for it. If you aren’t able to give material gifts, then give a more precious gift – yourself. Thank God for your physical abilities, for food on your table; more importantly, thank God that you have all those family members & friends (who you are wanting to bless with gifts).

When friends apologize for not getting their Christmas cards into the mail ‘on time’, I truthfully tell them that I honestly enjoy receiving Christmas cards after Christmas; it relieves the post Christmas let-down.

Poinsettia ceramic mug with coaster lid

Christmas is less than 2 days away but there’s no need to stress. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll call Joy and ask her to meet me over at the Café for something warm to drink and some down time; we’ll have a good, long chat. I think I’ll also encourage Pap Wayne to meet his buddies over at the diner to do the same.

It’s time to Reflect, to Praise and to give Thanks.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Be blessed dear friends, be blessed.





Christmas preparations

fishing villagerestaurant and home

Would you believe that every house on the street has been decorated with candles in the windows, lights and garland strung indoors & out, and lovely wreaths hung invitingly on every gate & front door? Everyone knows how much that pleases me. What a beautiful sight the Olde Fishing Village must be from out on the water!

Naturally I, Grandma Abigail, as matriarch of the village, have my gift shop decorated to the max. Twinkle lights are woven throughout the shelves-full of hand painted glassware. My goodness the glassware does sparkle. It’s so much fun to stand out on the sidewalk at night, after the store has closed, and gaze at the thousands of tiny lights cheerfully highlighting the numerous handcrafted items on the many displays. Many yards of green garland and dozens of beautiful red silk poinsettias add so much cheer. Sigh. This is my favorite time of year.

An artfully decorated tree fills the front display window. Along with the hundreds of tiny white lights are all sorts of handmade ornaments; spiral shells covered with white glitter, sand-dollars painted in lighthouse designs, starfish adorned in beach-ready gear: straw hats, sunglasses and painted-on bath suits. So cute! Then there are the shells that have little angel faces & halos. These are just a few of the ornaments hanging by red, white or green ribbons from the branches of my cheerful tree.

Off I go to meander the streets of the village to enjoy all of the Christmas decorations. Come back soon and I’ll let you know what else I discovered.






Fall leaf glasses          Turkey dish towel       Fall towels 2

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the entire holiday season. A turkey dinner with all the fixings is at the top of my favorites list too. As I consider and thank God for my many blessings, my mind is also very busy thinking about everyone I want to invite to my Thanksgiving festivities. Visitors to the island need to be considered as well as any residents of the island who might otherwise be alone. You know I can’t bear the thought of anyone sitting in their home lonely, especially during the holidays.

The fall leaf glassware and the fall floral arrangements have all been taken out and are ready to be placed on the linen covered table. Pretty Thanksgiving hand towels are hanging in the kitchen. It’s so festive!

I wonder if Celia will be on the island for Thanksgiving. That girl has a special place in my heart, especially because I had the opportunity to mentor her and help bring healing to her wounded heart. You can read all about that in my next book… when I get it finished and published. Meanwhile, I need to get my thoughts back on Thanksgiving preparations.

Joy and I plan to have a small thanksgiving service in the chapel on Wednesday evening. After-all, Joy will have all those grandchildren to her house for dinner on Thursday so we’ll both be super busy that day. Our aprons will be dusty with flour and the pies will be cooling on the counter as we carefully place the turkey in the oven.

The island will be filled with the aromas of stuffing, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, Brussels sprouts, and of course turkey & assorted pies. I can’t forget mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut… oh my, the list goes on and on.

We are truly blessed with abundance and love. Let us not forget to thank God for these many blessings!    Grandma Abigail



“Wooden items for a price, storytelling is free” – sign over The Wood Shed door in The Olde Fishing Village

Pap Wayne's Bench

Pap Wayne’s old wooden bench is empty; feel free to sit a spell, he’ll return shortly. Then again, if he’s down at the Dock to Galley Diner drinking coffee with Cal and Ben, you might have to wait awhile. When Pap Wayne does return, If you’re patient, he may entertain you with a story. Celia may have heard a few when she stopped by…

“Celia crossed the oyster shell intersection and turned towards a weathered little structure. Stopping in front of the building, a chuckle escaped her mouth. The old guy sitting on a rustic wooden bench in front of the building looked up; his large hands continued their work with a carving knife and a chunk of wood as his crystal blue eyes evaluated her intentions.

‘The Wood Shed,’ Celia read the building’s sign. She couldn’t help but ask the obvious question, ‘So, were you taken to the wood shed for a lickin’ when you were a boy?’

Pap Wayne slowly responded with a grin. ‘I wasn’t taken to the wood shed but I did get some switchin’s. My brother and I could be very ornery when we were kids.’

‘Your sign says, Wooden items for a price, storytelling is free. What kind of stories do you tell?’ Celia joined the old fellow on the bench.

‘Oh, most of my stories are from the old days. I kin tell ya all about American history, wars, planes, boats, trains and especially about the history of steam engines. I kin tell ya stories about forests, trees and all about wood or I kin explain coal and steel. Then again, I kin talk about photography. Some of my favorite stories are about my twin and me when we were small, towheaded boys’…

Watching the old guy’s hands work with the carving knife against the wood, Celia asked ‘How do you know what you want to carve out of a piece of wood?’

(You’ll have to read the book when it’s published to find out what stories Pap told. Wonder if he spun any tall tales?)

“… the aged hand pointed the carving knife down the street leading South. ‘Have a good day and don’t take any wooden nickels.’

With a grin, Celia responded, ‘My grandfather used to say that.’ Turning to leave, she gave a little wave.

Pay Wayne raised his fingers in a half wave and salute. With his legs stretched out, his ankles crossed and cap pulled a little low over his face, he returned to his wooden project as if it were the most important thing he had to do.”

copyright 2013 Finding Hope in the Olde Fishing Village, Blue Heron Cove